Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November Update: Disappointed

I've put off writing this update because...I don't have much to update.

I made it three days into NaNo before I gave up. Scions of Mythos just doesn't want to be told right now, and I didn't have the heart to try something different. By the time I realized I couldn't write it, it was too late to start something new anyway.

I'm still pretty depressed and unmotivated.

The election didn't help. Everything went to hell when I was already in a bad place, so I've mostly been trying to just make it through each day however I can. Even if that means staring at the TV and not moving from the couch for hours, not writing.

I thought maybe NaNo would get me back into writing, but it didn't. The first year in over a decade that I haven't done NaNo. Or at least, quit before I hit more than a couple thousand words. I'm disappointed in myself, but I keep reminding myself that even though I can't write it now doesn't mean I'll never be able to.

I pushed myself pretty hard this year. I took advantage of the good months. I don't want to become complacent, but I feel like I've worked hard enough to allow myself some down time while I need it.

I did send my flash fiction back out. It's a slow market, so they haven't even gotten to it yet, but that's ok. I don't have to think about it much, so that's nice.I threw a few more words at a couple different stories. I had a dream that I am trying to turn in to a Cafe story. I only have a few more days before I need to finish that up, though, so hopefully I can write more than a hundred words on it over the next few days.

I don't even have that editing project I was expecting this month. I'm not the only writer suffering right now, apparently. I'm equal parts relieved and bummed. At least fiction editing I still feel confident about. Although I'm in such a funk, I don't know how well I would have done.

I really hope the holidays will knock this funk loose. I found a new therapist, I'm working on taking better care of myself, and I do love Christmas, as stressful as it is. If I can get myself feeling better emotionally, maybe I'll be able to write again.

For now, I'm taking baby steps. I'm going to try to write for the Cafe for the next few months. That's it. No novellas. No novels. No editing projects. Just....a short story a month for awhile, until I feel less overwhelmed by the bigger projects.

I got a lot done in 2016, even though it was the worst year ever. I can't lose sight of that.

Next month, I'll probably do a summary of my accomplishments and talk about my goals for next year.

But right now, I'm prepping for Thanksgiving and trying to keep my head above water.

Hope your holidays are full of happiness and love. Take care, my friends.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October Update: Stalled

I don't have much to report this month.

I went out of town the first weekend of this month and wrecked my rental car. It wasn't anything major. No other cars involved, nobody hurt or anything. Just bumps and bruises from me. But that, among other things, has sucked my creativity dry.

I made it through an edit of ToK. I need to do two or three minor things to it and it'll be ready for beta readers.

And that's all. I was supposed to finish one of my adventure series stories. I was going to try to write for the Cafe. Instead, I got nothing. I also finally got my rejection from Flash Fiction Online. It made it to the final round, but still didn't get accepted. I haven't had the heart to try to send it back out.

I haven't even been able to read. I've started reading probably eight different books now. Bookmarks are sitting in two of them, and the rest have gone back on the shelf or in the box to donate.

I know sometimes writers need a break from writing. We need input to continue our output. I just feel like I've stalled out this month since I'm not even putting things in right now.

Next month is NaNo. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself right now, since I have to try to start the final book in the trilogy I'm writing next month. But I'm losing hope. I'm getting discouraged.

The forward momentum had been amazing. And now?

I don't even know what I'm aiming for anymore. The small press I wanted to submit to closed its doors. I still haven't gotten the line edits I was hoping for. I don't even care about the characters in my books anymore.

I know I'll get my writing mojo back at some point. I know that just because I spend a month not writing it doesn't mean I'm not a writer. I'll get it back.

But I still feel sick and listless about it right now. I'm not sure what to do.

Which is sad. October is my favorite month. And it's been a good month overall. Just terrible for writing. I haven't even been to the office.

Hopefully NaNo will do what NaNo is great at: get me back into a writing practice.

Until then...I have a week left of October. Maybe...maybe I'll just let myself relax without the pressure of having to create. All my worlds, all my characters, will still be there when I'm ready.

In my experience, I'm never able to stay away for long.

Sorry for the downer, friends. But maybe it's hopeful. All writers go through this. We're not alone when we feel this way. And it's temporary.

Monday, September 19, 2016

September Update 2: New Worlds and Plans

Here it is. A little later than halfway through the month, but it's a second update for September. It's pretty exciting and encouraging to me to have enough to talk about in two separate posts for a month.

Some of it is just a continuation of last post. But there's been some shifting and changing of plans, too.

First, I submitted my 24-hour short story contest story to a flash fiction magazine. It's been about a month and still no news, which I consider good news. They didn't outright reject me, anyway. I'm hopeful. Warily hopeful, I guess. I had kind of stopped submitting short stories for awhile there because I was going to put out my collection. Plans changed on that, as they often do, though, so I've been toying with submission again. My writing friend Dianne told me about The Submissions Grinder, which is a free market tracker. I started an account and have been enjoying looking at the stats and stuff. I've got a couple out and other market I'm waiting to open back up to submit to. I'll let you know if anything comes of any of that.

As far as my project timeline, I got about 5k words written for my adventure novella, and then came to a bit of a standstill. And I still had about a week before my editing project. So I read back through a couple of my previous novels. I have a lot (A LOT) of trunk novels. I have ten years' worth of NaNo attempts under my belt, after all. And I'd say of those ten, I may have maybe four pretty solid books (MoL was not written during NaNo in November, FYI. It started as a Camp NaNo and was finished in the months following that camp).

After spending a few days in a novel currently called Online Dating for Demons (NaNo 2011 that I started writing two weeks after finishing MoL), I realized I was really excited about it. So I began an editing treatment on it. I read through it in something like two days, writing an outline and making notes of things that need fixing and where. This book has already gone through beta readers, so I know what it needs. I worked through some of the missing backstory and figured out how to fix a couple of plot holes...but that's as far as I got. I realized I didn't have the energy or the time to do the massive edits it needs. It also needs quite a bit more written. Which I guess I knew going in. It was only around 56k words when it was finished.

But. The good news is, after five years, I no longer hate that book. I know how to fix it, and I even know what I can write about for the sequel. It's a relief, because this book has a lot of commercial potential. It may be the one to land me an agent.

So I wrapped that up and got news that I wasn't going to be getting Rachel's short when she originally thought. So that gave me a few more days to work on my own stuff. I panicked. I wasn't ready to work on ODD, and I also wasn't ready to go back to my adventure novella. But I didn't want to be idle, so...I read back through my NaNo from last year.

And it also sucked me in. I'd already done an editing treatment on it, so after reading through it, I began with a few small tweaks and worked my way up to writing something like 8k additional words. It still needs something like 2k-5k more, but I'm feeling really good about it. Pieces are coming together. It's a really clean draft. It's well-written and exciting. It's not going to need too much more work before it's ready for beta readers. Another few days, probably.

Of course, I now have my editing project, so I have to poke at it during the day when I'm on breaks. Progress has slowed down considerably.

I am also feeling a bit defeated because even when it's ready, I don't really have anyone to beta read it. All of my really good beta readers are on deck to read ToK next month. So. I will likely have to trunk this one until the MystWatch series is done.

This is both good and bad. It's good because hey, I have two other books that start two whole new series ready for me when I'm done MystWatch. It's bad because they're going to be on hold, back burner projects for awhile. I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to focus on them on a front burner again.

I hadn't realized how much I needed to visit other worlds. I thought two different worlds would be enough. Turns out I'm more like Brandon Sanderson and have to be dabbling in a number of different worlds in order to keep my forward progress. I've already written more this month than I have in a month in the last several. I feel refreshed and creative and inspired.

It's done a number on my timeline, though. Not in a bad way. But opening up my time to all of these different projects is going to make scheduling infinitely more tricky. And probably put off publication for awhile, too. I'm ok with both of those things, though. I'm in a hurry, but not really in a hurry. I would love to be able to write full time, but for now, it's like having this little secret from most of the world. Only my writer friends know it.

Someday the world will know I am a writer. But for now, it's just this blog and my writing group.

I am so thankful for this blog. It allows me to talk about this stuff when I know the husband and my friends are tired of listening to me.